The first thing I noticed about Hard Case Crime’s fantastic noir titles was the retro-looking covers featuring busty babes and firm-jawed men. The throwback look gave you a taste of what was inside, whether it was a carefully curated reissue of a long-out-of-print classic or a new hardboiled novel by a modern-day writer.
I’m not the only one to be struck by the covers, which were painted by such masters of the craft as Robert McGinnis, Glen Orbik and Gregory Manchess. Designer Hally McGehean incorporated these iconic covers into her “Hard Case Crime dress,” which was on display during New York’s Fashion Week. The Hard Case dress was one of 10 McGehean paraded down the runway at a fashion show at New York’s High Line and a Soho Gallery yesterday. The dress in question has every cover ever published by Hard Case in the series incorporated into the skirt, and an especially clever use of McGinniss’ horizontal cover painting for Losers Live Longer by Russell Atwood. McGehean made that image into a belt for the dress, and fashioned the top out of tiny interleaved copies of John Farris’ Baby Moll (another McGinnis cover).
September is fashion month here in New York and it’s also a season of rebirth and relaunch for Hard Case as well: On the 20th, you’ll see trade size versions of Lawrence Block’s Getting Off and Max Allan Collins’ Quarry’s Ex. Then in October, Hard Case releases The Consummata by Collins and Mickey Spillane and Choke Hold by Christa Faust.